I wanted to take moment to share with you the impact your story on the food pantry in Hastings has had.
As a journalist for many years, I know we often toil away reporting and writing daily on stories and never know what happens after they have been printed.
This you should know, donations came in from all over. I even got a donation from a former mermaid in Weeki Wachee; from an old friend in the Jacksonville Jaycees that I haven’t seen in ten years; from a man in Alachua county who passes through Hastings with his wife; from a farmer in Elkton who told me, “I had no idea what you did.”; from an 80-year-old woman in St. Augustine who said simply, “Thank you for doing what you do and I want to help. Some folks saw it in the paper. Others saw it on the news. Either way, it spurred people to take action.
Donations came in $5 checks and $300 checks and everything in between. Folks at the food pantry still gather their pennies and one homebound woman sent me a baggie with a bunch of pennies, a few dimes and a one dollar bill.
And then Christ Episcopal Church from Ponte Vedra came calling. After reading your story and coming out with the Bishop to talk with me, their congregation has agreed to continue to support Pie in the Sky so that we can resume weekly food giveaways. They have also been sending volunteers to help.
Here in Hastings, the over 55 group of women from the United Methodist Church have been sending volunteers each week to help deliver bags of groceries to more than 30 homebound families. Racial boundaries, long in place in Hastings are slowly dissolving as neighbors are helping neighbors without regard to which side of the tracks they live on. Incredible progress has been made.
Gamble Rogers students collected 1500 cans of food and students at Pedro Menendez donated $250 for holiday turkey dinners.
The list goes on and on, but the message is the same: People read the newspaper and watch the news and people care about our community. Your story gave hundreds the opportunity to put caring into action by doing whatever they could to help. That is a tremendous gift to everyone.
The food pantry continues, we will need funds to keep coming in. But for now, at least through the end of the year, I know I can bring food to Hastings for nearly 200 families each week. That’s a lot. That is a big deal. And that, is the power of the press.
Thank you Marcia and Jessica for all you do. I know it is not always easy to write about Pie in the Sky, but this one paid off in a very big way. Thank you for going to bat for Hastings and thank Pete Ellis for putting Pie in the Sky in the paper one more time. This was the time it really matter and people have food to eat because of it.
Thank you Jessica for letting people know that there is hunger here in our own back yard.
Thank you, all of you, who took the time to call, stop by or write and send your support for this worthwhile program. You all inspire me to do more. Your thoughtfulness, your concern for your neighbors keeps me going. Thank you all for taking the time to care.
It really does just mean the world to me and to the people we can all help.